Building Interregional Partnerships

When I look back five months ago to when I first arrived and compare it to where we are now as an association in Kyiv, I feel very encouraged. Our volunteers and participants have put their energy into action and the result is a healthy, growing branch of YMCA in Ukraine. It goes to show the potential that there is for progress in this country! How wonderful to have had the opportunity to be part of it.

Last weekend, I facilitated a training for YMCA leaders and community members from all over the country. People travelled from L’viv, Lutsk, Kirovograd, Krememnchuk and farther. We covered topics such as YMCA leadership, behaviour management, communication skills and program planning. Aside from gaining skills relevant to working with the YMCA, it was a chance for YMCA members from various parts of the country to connect with one another and share ideas. The dynamic was great with this energetic group!

Our YMCA Kyiv Tensing team continues to meet regularly and is working on developing their performance for the international Tensing conference which will be held in Kyiv in February. In two weeks we will travel to Lutsk to participate in socialwork and Tensing workshops. We very much look forward to this and hope it will help us strengthen our relations with YMCA Volyn!

As I begin my last month in Ukraine, it feels strange to leave behind the life I have built here. While six months may not sound like a long time, it is enough time to create strong relationships, friends as close as family, routines, and a structure that begins to feel like home. Being able now to understand and speak the language, as well as know all the ins and outs of being a local, Ukraine really feels like “my place” now.  As I begin to say goodbye to friends from other regions I try to keep in mind the saying “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne.

This has been a wonderful experience, and I will enjoy this last month to the fullest. I also feel so lucky to have such wonderful people to return to in Calgary. See you all soon!

Leadership Training in Kyiv